Field hockey: Lakeland surges past Burnt Hills in Class B regional

Amy LeBel's goal ends Hornets' shutout streak at six games

— Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake became one of a small number of field hockey teams to score a goal against Section I’s Lakeland when Amy LeBel tallied with less than seven minutes left in the second half.

Unfortunately for the Lady Spartans, that was their only highlight as the Hornets buzzed their way to a 7-1 victory in Monday’s Class B regional at Schuylerville High School.

“They’re a solid program,” BH-BL coach Kelly Vrooman said of Lakeland (20-1). “They’ve got three girls going to (NCAA) Division I programs.”

Lakeland pressed BH-BL (12-8) early and often. The Hornets used long lead passes to get inside the circle and fired 34 shots on goal. BH-BL freshman goaltender Brittany Ryan made 27 saves, but she couldn’t stop them all.

“Our girls don’t even hit (the ball) that hard, so it was difficult to prepare (Ryan) for that team in practice,” said Vrooman.

Kristen Conroy got things going early for Lakeland when she scored off a penalty corner less than two minutes into the game. Gianna Bensaia tallied later in the first half and assisted on Steph Scala’s goal 1:49 before halftime to give the Hornets a 3-0 lead.

The rest of Lakeland’s scoring came during a 16-minute stretch of the second half. Dana Bozek tallied twice, while Conroy and Bensaia each added goals to extend the Hornets’ lead to 7-0.

LeBel made certain BH-BL didn’t leave the regional empty handed. Less than one minute after Bensaia scored Lakeland’s seventh goal, LeBel charged into the circle and shot the ball past Mairead Hourihan to get the Lady Spartans on the scoreboard. It was the first goal Lakeland allowed since a 1-0 non-league loss to Darien (Conn.) six games ago.

“The girls kept going,” said Vrooman. “That was nice to see.”

BH-BL is hoping this year’s trip to the regional finals won’t be its last for a while. The Lady Spartans graduate only two starters from this year’s team.

“This is a learning experience for us,” said Vrooman. “We’ll chalk this (loss) up as a pivotal point for us to see where we need to be.”

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